It seems amazing that Hacktivist are only just releasing their debut album. The Milton Keynes outfit have been served well by their EP and singles releases, and it certainly doesn’t seem to have held them back in the five years since their formation. But now, Hacktivist are entering the album game with ‘Outside the Box’ and after half a decade in the making, the twelve-track onslaught is well worth the wait.
‘Our Time’ is a very direct opener, a different kind of intro track with ‘Outside the Box’ immediately setting itself up as a record with a lot to say. It’s hard to imagine expecting anything less from Hacktivist after the tone of previous releases, and while the transition into ‘Hate’ is a little disjointed the first proper track on the album is as outspoken as Hacktivist have ever been. It might not have quite the cutting edge the band have become known for, but tremendous assaults on tracks like ‘Buszy’ and ‘No Way Back’ later in the album more than make up for this.
The past singles and collaborations are where this album really excels. ‘Deceive and Defy’ combines with ‘Taken’ to create a powerful double-header and it’s a shame that the otherwise solid interlude of ‘The Storm’ rather kills the momentum, being totally disconnected from its surrounding tracks. The impact of Rou Reynolds and Jamie Graham cannot be understated, and along with Astroid Boys’ role on ‘Rotten’, ‘Outside the Box’ is a great demonstration of the camaraderie within the British rock and metal scenes and its benefits for all bands involved.
It’s likely you’ll be more than aware of ‘False Idols’ and ‘Elevate’, and it’s no surprise that two of the band’s strongest singles to date have found their way onto ‘Outside the Box’. ‘Rotten’ is a more atmospheric effort but lyrically one of the most ferocious that the album has to offer, and freestyle artist Jot Maxi is another welcome addition to a very different Hacktivist track.
The title track builds spectacularly as ‘Outside the Box’ enters its closing stages; ‘Buszy’ keeping momentum flying along before ‘The Storm II’ succeeds in taking a disjointed interlude and turning it into a magnificent final track. ‘Outside the Box’ is not a flawless album, but overall it’s as cutting and as instrumentally and lyrically powerful as anything that you’d ever imagine Hacktivist would put their name on.
‘Outside the Box’ by Hacktivist is out now on UNFD Records.
Words by Antony Lusmore (@VilinskiKonjic)